Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Once again proposed statewide energy efficiency standards are in the news. I’m shocked! Our legislature is being urged to adopt the Energy Efficiency Resource Standards that will help utility customers purchase energy-efficient products.
In the early 1980s, during the dark ages of energy efficiency, I led a commercial and residential energy conservation audit and analysis team in the midwest. Back then, for a short time, there were choices. Federal energy conservation legislation developed and passed during the Carter administration, then subsequently killed by President Ronald Reagan, mandated that all utilities offer in-home energy audits. The results allowed utility customers to add recommended energy-saving devices with the cost being financed by their utility. Customers would repay the cost monthly via their utility bill. More than 30 years later, we are pretty much trying to replicate a similar program with a twist.
Energy efficiency begins with building design and construction. Today, large commercial customers understand that and our state rewards their efforts by providing incentives. This benevolence does not carry over to residential construction. Home builders always tout their use of energy-efficient construction products, but nobody tests their homes as a unit. It doesn’t matter if your new house has all the bells and whistles if they are not properly sized, installed and tested as a system. I have yet to see a builder in Clark County that allows a home buyer to condition a home purchase based upon the results of an independent home energy audit. Until this is done, let the buyer beware.